Nancy and Sam were a couple of my salespeople. I needed someone to run a lead and I sent each the same text message: “Can you run a lead for me tomorrow?”
The financial benefits were huge for the person who did it. Each knew it.
My intention was to send the prospect’s information to the first who responded. Neither knew I sent it to the other.
Nancy replied first, “I got a flat yesterday and have to take my car to get tires in the morning.”
I asked, “Is that a yes or a no?”
I left the office. While driving, Nancy sent me, “As long as I can do it after that, I would say yes.” (I don’t text while driving and waited to reply.)
Sam replied about 20 minutes later with, “Yes I can.”
As I said, I wanted to give it to the first who responded.
Who do you think I gave this to?
They’re More Than Words
I gave the job to Sam.
After asking my initial yes/no question, Nancy didn’t answer me. She gave me a story about her car and what she was doing the next day. That wasn’t what I asked her about.
Then, after I asked if it was yes or no, her answer still wasn’t a “yes.” It was “I would say yes.”
Would is a wish-washy word and screws up the sentence.
“I would say yes” isn’t the same as answering with “Yes.” It’s something she would do. Not something she can or will do. It’s something in the future that may or may not happen.
I won’t risk it. I had to go with a solid, simple, “Yes.”
Ignore Non Sequiturs
A non sequiturs is a response that doesn’t follow the original question or statement.
When I say, “It’s a beautiful day,” and you reply, “Did you see the game last night on TV?” Your reply is a non sequitur.
When you ask me, “How much would you pay for this widget?” and I reply, “I have a busy schedule this week. I have many meetings and presentations to work on. You know what it’s like.” My reply is a non sequitur.
Neither reply followed the initial statement or question. It was as if we weren’t even listening.
I bet you often get sidetracked when the person you’re talking with goes off like that. Most people do. You hear the content and run after it like a cat chasing a ball of yarn.
When you ask a question, expect a response.
If the response doesn’t follow what you asked, ask it again.
When Nancy replied that she was taking her car to get tires, I asked if that meant yes or no.
You want your answer. You don’t want to hear a story about how the dog ate their curtains, and left rainbows turds in the yard because of the colors in the material. So ask your question again.
And if they continue on about how the rainbow shit has little pots of gold underneath, you need to ask again. You can wait patiently while they finish the story (I probably wouldn’t), but ask again.
Listen For Fuzzy Language
Words like would, could, might, possibly, try, and others like them don’t provide any certainty.
Will you buy my product today?
When I hear these words after a question like those, I’ll place a big bet you won’t buy.
And I’m not a gambler. I like to win. I despise losing.
Get clarification. How can you help them turn this into an enthusiastic “Yes?”
Stop and ask.
You would? You could? You might? What would stop you?
What Is Not Spoken?
Hear what’s said while listening to what’s not spoken.
This will lead you down paths into different sections of your customer’s mind. Once you start noticing these paths, you’ll realize they were never hidden before. You were blinded to these paths by the bright neon sign above that said, “Follow this path now!”
This will keep you and your customer on track.
You’ll keep your conversations flowing more easily.
You’ll persuade more easily.
You’ll improve your sales skills.
And you’ll take the gamble out of your selling process.